Burn injuries: Region's higher rate of hospitalisations

NEW DATA: There is a higher rates of burn hospitalisations in the region compared to the NSW rate. Photo: FILE
NEW DATA: There is a higher rates of burn hospitalisations in the region compared to the NSW rate. Photo: FILE

MORE people in the Central West are hospitalised due to burn injuries than the state average, new data shows.

The HealthStats NSW data shows burn injury hospitalisations across the region by local government area (LGAs), and it uses a rate per 100,000 head of population to allow for accurate comparisons.

While all Central West LGAs recorded a higher rate of burns compared to the state average, it was the areas in the west of the region that had the most incidents during the most recent reporting period of 2015-17.

The Hilltops area, which includes, Young had the highest rate at 54.7 for every 100,000 people which was significantly up on the NSW rate of 31.0.

Following closely behind was Bogan council with 51.4, then Weddin at 51.0 and Forbes and Narromine both had a rate of 46.9.

Orange had a rate of 46.5 for every 100,000 people, followed by Cowra (46.3), Parkes (44.4) and the former Western Plains council (44.3).

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Rates in other Central West councils were lower, including: Blayney (44), Cabonne (42.2), Mid-Western (40.2), Bathurst (36.4), Oberon (35.2) and Lithgow (35.1).

The higher than state average rate of burns in 2015-17 was not a new trend, the data also showed.

Each two-year report, dating back to 2004-06, also shows a higher rate of burn incidents across the Central West compared to the NSW rate.

A Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) spokeswoman said the region’s hospitals treated a variety of burns.

“In 2017/18, there were 1600 burn presentations to WNSWLHD emergency departments, representing 0.8 per cent of all presentations,” she said.

“Of these, 58 per cent of all burn presentations in the WNSWLHD were male.

“Dubbo, Bathurst and Orange had the most burns presentations of the LHD’s emergency departments.”

The WNSWLHD spokeswoman was asked where workplace or agriculture incidents accounted for the higher number of burns in regional areas, but did not provide an answer.

“The rate of admission into burns units is twice as high for remote areas compared to metropolitan areas,” she said.

First aid for burns

Stop the burning process:

  • Firstly, consider your own safety
  • If on fire – stop, drop and roll
  • If electrical – turn off current
  • If chemical – remove the burning agent and irrigate with water

Cool the burn:

  • With running cold tap water for 20 minutes
  • Useful for up to three hours after injury
  • Do not cause hypothermia
  • Do not use ice

For all burns and scalds

  • Remove clothing not stuck to the burn site
  • Remove all jewellery and watches

Cover the burn

  • Using a clean dressing or cling wrap (do not wrap circumferentially)
  • Seek medical assistance